From Richard Jackson
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Southampton Buildings Thursday [January 16?, 17725]
I return you Monsr. D Anquetil’s Voyage,6 which I found reason to wish to read more attentively than I at first intended to have done.
The Evident carelessness and Ignorance of the Author in many Points and his palpable Malignity against the whole English Nation, in general, notwithstanding he is obliged to confess the Civility he received from Particulars, makes me doubt somewhat, every thing that depends on his Veracity.
This is the Day I was to have dined with you at the Mitre and I shall very well like to go; but as my first Intention was only founded on Dr. Mortons Invitation I do not feel in myself any Desire, to dine there, independent of that Invitation, or the Desire of your Company. Do not therefore call on me meerly to introduce me there. In case your Inclinations lead you to dine there, come to [me] and I shall like very well to dine there with you, but do [not] come on purpose. If Dr. Morton calls on me I will go, whether you come or not.7
I send you a Letter and some papers from Mr. Galloway and am Dear Sir Yours sincerely
Understand me; I have not the least reluctance to go, if it is agreable to you.
Addressed: To / Benjamin Franklin Esq
5. The Galloway letter that Jackson mentions was written on Dec. 2, 1771; BF had received it when he wrote Galloway below, Feb. 6. Hence this note enclosing it could not have been written before January or, because of the day of the week, after January: there was no Thursday in February before BF’s letter to Galloway. Once the month is established, two plausible days can be determined by a process of conjecture described below; and our policy is to choose the earlier of the two.
6. See BF to Stiles above, Jan. 13.
7. For Charles Morton, secretary of the Royal Society, see above, X, 71 n. He had invited Jackson to a meeting of the Royal Society Club at the Mitre Tavern, off Fleet Street; by rules adopted in 1766 any member might, with leave from the President or a majority of the members present, introduce not more than two guests at a meeting. Archibald Geikie, Annals of the Royal Society Club … (London, 1917), pp. 25, 93. Our conjecture is that Morton, planning to attend on a particular Thursday, invited Jackson but neglected to follow up the invitation. In that case Jackson was probably writing on Jan. 16 or 23, when the records of the Royal Society show that Morton did attend. The phrasing of the note, however, presents a mystery; for BF was not a member, but only a frequent guest. Unless the rules had fallen into abeyance, he could not have dined at the Club—let alone introduced Jackson—whenever he was so inclined. Neither man did in fact attend during January.